Friday, May 25, 2012

Maybe not.

Guess I sorta failed the Blog Me MAYbe thing. Then again, it does say "maybe" in the title. Which really just reminds me of Arrested Development.

I'm alive. I've been quiet online mostly because I've been busy this week doing my orientation for the Nurse Extern program. Guys, I have a badge and everything! I can badge in through pretty much any door in the massive hospital. And people don't give you odd looks when you're wandering around lost, because you're wearing scrubs and a badge, so you must know where you're going. Even when you don't, because the hospital is huge and twisty.

My first shifts are next Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2. 0645 to 1915, back to back. That'll be a fun introduction, but honestly I'm stoked.

Today is our skills lab day, where we'll refresh on our clinical skills and learn hospital policy for things, plus no doubt run some codes and practice our BLS.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grab Your Tissues.

I came across this video on my fitness Tumblr account. So beautiful and inspiring. People like this man are why I want to be a nurse--to give patients inspiration and hope when they have none.

(A nurse wasn't involved in his story in any way, but I think it's up to my generation of new nurses to take health care to the next level, beyond an allopathic view, and to bring light to the darkness.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In Which I Tell the Story of My No Good, Terrible, Very Bad 5k

So I participated in my first 5k event this past Sunday.

A quick backstory on my running history: I ran track in high school, didn't run at all during college, started running again about 2 years ago, quit, and from then on kept yo-yo'ing between running and not running. This past March, my grandmother passed away from cancer, and I decided that I done half-assing anything to do with my health and wellness, so the next day (March 19) I started to run. I could run 1 mile and that's it, and at the end of that 1 mile, I felt like I was dying. But I trained 4 days a week, slowly inching up my time and distance.

So. Race day comes. I know that I am mentally and physically capable of running 3.1 miles--just a couple weeks earlier, I'd run 6.5 miles of trails with a friend. I'd only heard good things about what a race was like, how the crow'd energy was infectious and adrenaline would speed you through the end. I was ready.

Hubby and me before the race. Excited and confident!

There was one little thing about the race that I hadn't truly taken into account: the time. All these weeks, I'd been training early in the morning, between 6:30-7:30 AM. Even launched into early spring/summer like we were down here in Georgia, the temperatures were cool enough to be pleasant.

But race day?

Race day was gorgeous--if you weren't about to run 3 miles. Race day was 88 degrees and not a cloud in the sky--which of course means the sun was brutally shooting its death rays onto the the runners.

The race started at 2:35 PM. I knew it would be trouble, but I wasn't prepared for the magnitude. I ate only a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and around 11 AM a slice of whole wheat toast with soy "peanut" butter. By race time, I was starving.

Finally, it was go time. I was already sweating. The email the race organizers had sent out earlier said the course was a 1.5 mile loop, so we'd only have to lap twice. I was prepared to lap twice. Turns out, it was a 1 mile loop, so we had to lap three times. It's not easy to lap three times, knowing exactly what difficulty lies ahead--like the stretch of the course being scorched by the sun.

Gathering at the starting line. That's me in the green visor, starting to feel anxious.
The airhorn blew, and we were off. I'd never run in a crowd before, so it was odd having so many bodies around me. I couldn't immediately settle into my comfortable pace. The first half mile was spent breaking out of the pack and wiggling my way forward to a place where I could go at my training speed, which is around a 10-11 minute/mile. Certainly not fast, but a decent pace that I trained at which would have me finishing the entire race in (I hoped) less than 36:00.

The first mile was good. All my favorite music on the Hair Metal playlist is near the beginning, so I was flying to Def Leppard and AC/DC. The trail was new, so I didn't know what to expect. I was confident.

I'm pretty sure this is about 30 seconds into the race. Ha!
Then came the second mile. At first, I thought I was okay. I made it through the sunny part, had enough energy to speed up the series of hills, and then...then I suddenly realized, "It's freaking hot out here." All it took was that one thought. Suddenly, I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. I started getting wrapped up in how I was feeling and took my attention off my breath--next thing I know, I have a terrible side stitch stabbing me under the right ribs.

At this point, I'm still running, but the word "walk" had started whispering around in my head. Once it shows up, it's really hard to ignore it.

Finally, about half-way through the second mile, the side stitch was so severe that I had to stop running and walking just to lean over and do belly breaths to get rid of it. It went away, and I started jogging again--but it was too late. My body had already felt the sweet glory of not blasting my heart rate up to 165 in 88 degree heat, and it wanted nothing more to do with that whole running business.

I'd declined water on the first lap, but on the second mile I was dying of thirst. When I came near the water station, I slowed for a second, gulped it down, and told myself if I could just make it the next half-mile, I could walk in the shade. At this point, around 2.25 miles, my time was already at 25 minutes. A tiny voice in my head said "you can do the last three-quarters in 10 minutes and still make your goal time."

I didn't. I couldn't even make it across the sunny field before pure exhaustion hit me. The first hill rose up, and I walked it. And the next one. And then I walked all the way into the woods. At one point, I thought I might vomit. More than once I thought I'd pass out from the heat. I felt disconnected from my body, shaky--pretty much everything that is bad.

But then I decided to just run again. I was in the shade, I'd cooled off a little. If I'd just run, the slowest run I could, then I'd finish faster and be able to go home and lie in a tub of ice all that much sooner.

So I turned off the playlist, dialed up one of my favorite songs, and just started running. It was the most pathetic slog you've ever seen. One foot in front of the other and nothing more. But I kept at it, and when the finish line was coming into sight, I managed to pick up my pace just enough that I slid in under the finish line at 39:55.

Before the race, I said my only goals were 1) to finish, and 2) to run the entire time. Obviously I crushed number 2, but at least I did finish. I had plenty of negative self-talk going on, especially around mile 2. During mile 3, my brain was pretty much heat mush.

I staggered to the tree where my husband and in-laws were sitting and collapsed on the ground.

Normally, I would never show this caliber of unflattering picture of myself, but I think it perfectly captures exactly how I felt after the race:

Like dying. Basically.

So that was my first race experience. Absolutely godawful.

But, at least it's behind me now. I'm disappointed in myself, yes--but I'll at least give myself some leeway on the heat. It was brutal, and I hadn't trained for it at all. And now I know that I will never, ever, ever sign up for an afternoon race in the beginning of summer again.

The End.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Write Hard. No, Harder than that.

Yesterday, I ran my first 5k. I'd only been training for 7 weeks, but even up until yesterday morning, I was feeling strong and confident about the race. I knew I could run the distance (though not much beyond it), I was kinda familiar with the course, and I'd been hearing so much about the "crowd energy" from running as part of a group that I was sure my feet would fly and adrenaline would carry me through.

Holy crap was I wrong.

Writing (that's right--it's writing topic day!) can be just like that. You hear all the time about "the sagging middle" or other, maybe ruder terms to describe the middle chunk of the manuscript. The middle is hard because the elation of starting that new project has worn off, and even though you have a decent chunk of wordage behind you, there's still a long, long way to go before you write The End.

When you're a new writer, maybe even a writer who has never finished a novel before, you think: "if I can just make it through this part, then..." And once you finally do make it through that part, you feel like you'll never have that trouble again, because you overcame that obstacle. So maybe you make it easier on yourself. Maybe instead of taking the fork in the path that's a sheer climb littered with roots and rocks, you take the easy downhill slide to the finish.

Even if you've written 10, 20, 100 manuscripts, you can never get complacent. Maybe it won't be the middle--maybe it'll be character development. World-building. Concept freshness.

Every time you sit down to work on your novel, you need to approach it just as fresh as you did the first time. Just because you've done it before does not guarantee you can do it again. It assures you that you can do it again. That you are capable of doing it again. But you're not guaranteed success.

You are never guaranteed success.

So train hard. Always strive to be better. Study. Branch out. Don't just run the same path every time you train--that's a good way to get injured. And not all injuries can be recovered.

I'm going to write about my 5k experience on tomorrow's post about myself, but since I used running as a metaphor, here's a photo of me about one minute after I crossed the finish line. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do ya love me?

The video I'm about to share with you is not safe for work or children. It's also kinda long. But really, you only need to watch the first half to get the full funny.

And I'll admit, this kind of humor is not for everyone,'s extremely quotable.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just Do Yourself a Favor

Today's Blog Me MAYbe schedule has me telling you about someone else.

Boy, are you in for a treat, my friends. When I started this blog in January of 2010, it wasn't too long before I somehow (I think it was through Sarah) stumbled across a blogger by the name of Joan Crawford.

She doesn't post frequently, really, or with any sort of schedule, but I feel the same level of excitement when I see a new post from her as when I see one from Hyperbole and a Half.

What I'm trying to TELL you is that JOAN IS FUNNY.

It's thanks to her blog that I first saw this video that changed my childhood memories forever.

But don't take my word for it...

Things I Yell At You

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is It Really That Hard?


I'm going to try really hard to stay off my soapbox here, but I do have an honest question for an audience. Between the media, Tumblr, and Pinterest, I've come to realize that most people don't seem to know the first thing about their bodies. How exactly do those little words on the nutrition label work? What exactly are calories all about, and should we really be "counting" them?

Are carbs really the devil? Is it possible to lose 3 (or 5!) pounds in a day? Are juice fasts healthy? Is detoxing something we should do regularly?

Nutrition is something so fundamental to living; it's pathetic that it isn't taught in schools starting at kindergarten. Or even if it is taught in schools, it obviously isn't taught the right way, because questions like those above exist. And are abundant.

I'm not going to answer any of those questions or say anything else about it (except that if you're interested in a great website, check out the image link), but I do have a question:

What is it about nutrition and exercise that's difficult to understand? The basic concepts? Or do you think media has influenced the collective unconscious to the point that we have difficulty separating the truth, even when we know it's there? 

PS: If you do have any specific questions about nutrition, feel free to email me and ask. This is my livelihood and my passion, and I'm always more than happy to explain far more than you ever wanted to know about your body and its fuel.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blog Me Maybe--Inaugural Post

I'm joining with quite a few other bloggers in an attempt to motivate myself back into a regular posting schedule. I like to think I have a good excuse for blogging less, but it's still something I'd like to improve.

The posting schedule for the month of May "Blog me MAYbe" fest is on the right side toolbar. 

Link to the original post and the list of participants is here

Today's Topic: me?

I have to write something about myself once a week? 

For long-time followers of my blog, I'm not sure there's anything left to talk about that's new or interesting, but I'll certainly do my best. In the event that I have new readers, I'll start this series off with a quick run-down of factoids about moi

-I live in the dirty South. Georgia, to be specific. I much prefer Savannah over Atlanta, though I'll take the mountains over both. 

-I've been writing since I was 9 years old. I still have the first "novel" I started, about a 14-year-old girl (so mature!) named Raine. 

-I dabble in multiple genres, but my heart belongs mostly to things in the adult urban fantasy/sci-fi/mashup realm. I attribute it to equal portions of watching Dark Shadows and Star Trek as a kid. 

-I'm in nursing school; specially, I'm in an ASN program, which is an Associate's of Science in Nursing--an accelerated program that makes you an RN in 2 intensive years. I plan on finishing my BSN and eventually getting a Master's degree, probably in something health-related (though likely not to be a Nurse Practitioner). 

-I have a Bachelor's degree in English. I really like Medieval Romance, Native American literature, and literary theory. 

-Someday, I want to handle a search & rescue dog as a disaster-response nurse/volunteer. 

-I have three cats, all rescues. (Mack, Magoo, Monty) 

-I run. 

Okay. That wasn't so hard. Now let's see if I can do this 22 more times...